Much of the attention paid to clutter focuses on the actual physical nature of clutter and less on why we collect. For me, it’s a simple case of ” I am; therefore, I collect.” I grew up in tiny apartments in New York City and only on a rare move had space that was mine. I, too, had a mother who was a proto-Marie Kondo: “does this spark joy? Too bad we don’t have room for it.”
Then for years, I lived out of a backpack, a seabag, or a locker. There was no room for anything but the most precious of possessions. With this background, you’d think that I’d have grown into the agile, spare, sparse, and thrifty. Sure.
My collecting began with art, carving supplies, and books. I use my stuff. My book, tools, and supplies are there for me to create. Many of the tiny carvings and collected craft items are there as aids to creativity. I tend to think holistically, so an actual object sparks thought better than a sketchbook.
Books are for pleasure, escape, but by and large for research. For example, if I need data on late nineteenth-century steam yachts, there are three sourcebooks in the collection for my use. The nearest nautical collections and libraries are respectively an hour and two hours away.

Rather than focus on the “clutter,” it would help if you focused on the individual. For many crafters, artists, authors, and other professionals, what they have is not some ossifying pile of random junk. It’s part of the process of creation.

Here’s what I recommend. First, keep your Marie Kondo mania to yourself. Goodness! Think what an author could do to you for an unwanted intrusion. Within a week, you’d be the serial killer in her new mystery, a very unappealing sicko at that. An artist? – a Tormented soul in hades painted in brilliant hues? Worse still a carver…you’d be exhumed from under an old pile of saved wood in forty years.

No. You should keep your dogeared copy of Marie at home. It’s safer for you that way.

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